Self-portraits by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat will star in contemporary-art auctions in London set to raise at least 72.5 million pounds ($116 million).
Sotheby’s, Christie’s International and Phillips de Pury & Co.’s sales come as contemporary-art dealers look for price rises. Worldwide auctions slumped more than 50 percent in 2009. The once-booming market is still recovering, according to the French-based data company Artprice.
“Things were bad in 2009,” said Anders Petterson, founder of the London-based analysts ArtTactic. “Sales were solid and robust in 2010. The question is whether growth will continue in 2011 or flatten out.”
In November in New York, the three auction houses’ evening sales raised $553 million. The total was just 17 percent lower than in May 2008, when the contemporary-art boom was at its height, ArtTactic said in its latest confidence survey.
The 1967 Warhol has been in a U.S. private collection since 1974 and is estimated to sell for as much as 5 million pounds at Christie’s on Feb. 16. Christie’s auction of 64 lots may raise as much as 51.9 million pounds.
Phillips’s Feb. 17 auction has 29 lots that are estimated to make at least 5.8 million pounds. Basquiat’s 1985 painting “Overrun,” showing a stylized self-portrait in a graffiti- scrawled urban landscape, has a top estimate of 1.5 million pounds.
Written by Scott Reyburn